WOW what an amazing few days I have had
The first night that we arrived in Chang Mai, we went to "The Riverside" which is basically where all the locals go to drink and listen to some live Thai and Western rock music: It was amazing: we partied til 2pm and I had the best night that I have had since we begun travelling! Is was so cool just to hang out and party with the local ppl and dance and have a laugh with them!
The nxt day we were picked up to go on out trek in the mountains to visit the local hill-tribe ppl, go elephant riding and white water rafting: that truly was the most life-changing experience yet: Considering that I was so so so close to actually living my last breath here in Thailand 9more on that later!!)
So to start out on the trek: We were taken for a 1hr elephant ride which was really cool (if not a little uncomfortable) that was really nice!
Then we had lunch (which consisted of a bowl of fried rice with a bit of scrambled egg and chilli (erm...yes, yum yum!), then we had a 3hr trek to the top pf the mountain, which nieveably I thought (well me and Phil both thought actually, wouldnt be that streneous!: How wrong we were: so wrong)...The first 5mins were literally a f***ing killer: In fact the whole three hrs was: we were just literally trekking up hill the whole time- with hardly any rest stops and carrying our day-packs and about 6litres of water each! I honestly didnt think we would make it! just the sight of the mountain and the thought of having to reach the top scared the hell outta us! Me and Phil had to be the 2 unfittest there, but it was pretty comforting to see that we all had red and sweaty faces!
Eventually we arrived at the Tribal village, where we were staying overnight with the locals, who were the Lahu tribes ppl (basically they were refugees that fled from Tibet and their regime thousands of yrs ago to live in the hills and jungles of Thailand!), It was so cool an experience to live and eat with the locals who basically are very traditional and live far differently to westerners and the Thail landlivers!
We had dinner around a camp fire and listen to the locals play accoustic guitar and had a bit of a sing along, which was really cool! They loved their Bob Marley!!
The next day we had another full-day pf trekking ahead of us!!! Which I was dreading,. although we were told by our guide that it would not be as streneous as we were just trekking down-hill! He was right, however, the amount of times we fell over and slipped on the dry dirt and leaves in the jungle! made it a million times worse in some ways...I found day 2 far easier, whereas Phil was still winging about his knee and lagging behind the whole group. We stopped for lunch at another local village and were given 2hours at a waterfall, so we all went swimming under that and had a good rest and were able to cool off.
Then we started off again, this time we were heading to the jungle camp where we were staying for our second night: And it was here that I was nearly a goner!!
We had tea, and this French guy called Jacques (who constantly just wanted to get stoned with "jungle boy" who was basically the guy who lived in the jungle and leaded the way on the trek) was constantly getting jungle boy to make bongs outta bamboo (which were raelly v gud) and just to have a smoke: obviously I didnt refuse (:os) and after like 2 I was too stones and said that I was going for a lie down just to rest my eyes for an hr or so (It was like only 6.30pm) so I went into our bunk room, which was just basically a little room/hut made out of bamboo: and about 10mins later I heard a really loud noise that sounded like a gun-shot, (at 1st I though it was like a gang/someone trying to shoot at the camp- site) then I heard a few more like shot sounds and thought oh it must just be fireworks...how wrong I was.) Then literally all of a sudden the whole bunk shook and I something came crashing through the roof (I automatically assumed that it was an earthquake) and to my disbelief It was the biggest f***ing tree that I have ever ever seen: It literally missed me by 2inches: AND that it NO EXAGGERATION! I was so so lucky: My tour guiode was in so much shock- he nearly keeled over and had an heart-attack when he saw me come outta the bunk shouting what the f*** was that: that tree nearly f***ing hit me!
Everyone was crowding around the bunk and looking at the tree: Basically because the tribes ppl need to burn down parts of the forest that are no good anymore for farming the tree had caught fire and had basically burnt through the middle so the tree was hollow and had been burning for days and finally it just snapped off (which is what the whole shot sounds were) and it just fell into the bunk: If I had been laid on the other bed the tree would have gone right through my head and I would have been completly destroyed. I was shakling like a leaf and just couldnt believ how lucky I had been: everyone else who was on the trip was like: "Oh my god Rach ur so lucky- that would so have killed u if it hit u"!! I was like Im so f***ing glad that fate was on my side.
Oh course the locals and jungle boy were all like: "Its the spirits that surround around the camp and the jungle that have saved u: U have brought us gud luck"! I dunno about that, But all I know is that it was a bloody miracle that I came outta it without ever so much as a SCRATCH, because the whole time wen it was happening I seriously thought- I am going to die: theres no way I will survive this: MY WHOLE LIFE FLASHED BEFORE MY EYES! then wen everything stopped and I saw the tree literally at the bottom of my feet, mu mosquito net colloapesed and a beam on my side of the bunk collapsed I seriously couldnt believe it....Basically the morale of that story is: "u snooze u lose. So dont go to bed too early in the jungle!! lol
On a more serious note though: I was pretty shaken up after I had got over the initial shock: and entered the stage of self reflection!! I was just so happy that I had lived to tell the tale: and all Phil could say was: "hey Rach, just think about what a cracking story u will have to tell ppl back home" Which is so true now, however, I didnt feel that way at the time.
Anyway after that comotion, of which we all stayed up talking about it for hrs after and comtemplating the what if and the what mught have been: we all calmed down and headed for bed at about 10.30pm: we had to sleep in the bunk with the tree going right through it: but that was safe, plus it was either that or sleep under the stars, and seen as though we were in the middle of the jungle: non of us fancied that much because of all the nasties that lurked out there and the fact that it was completly pitch black!!!
Anyway the nxt day we were trekking again fr about 2hrs and then we wernt white-water rafting, which was OK, but I felt it was a little over-rated: The fact that I felt compltely safe and not once did I feel that I was gonna fall out added to the disappointment I think, but all the same it was good to try it! Then we did a little bit of Bamboo rafting, which cooled us down no end, then headed to another camp for lunch. At about 3pm our lift arrived to take us back to Chang Mai and to our guest-houses.
On the 3hr ride back we were all exhausted/covered in dirt and didnt speak much to each other: the whole three days of physical and mental exhaustion had seriously caught up with us! I was so relieved wen I saw my guesthouse. It was so good to get my back-pack and have a shower and put on some clean clothes for a change. As soon as we checked back in, I went to the seven eleven around the corner (;leaving Phil at the hotel), where I purchased a packet of Marlborough lights and a bottle of the Thai's version of red-bull and sat outside on the step reflecting on the three days of mad-ness I had encountered. As I sat there taking in everything around me and appreciating the fact that I had made it out alive, my eyes welled up and tears started streaming down my face: I wasnt crying because i was sad I was crying more for the fact that if I hadnt survived, I would not be sat here now experiencing this...something so insignificant an little: yet it meant so much to me!
IM ONLY GLAD THAT I SURVIVED TO TELL U THIS TALE..........
***(to be continued soon)***